Opening remarks

Monadnock Regional High School graduate Talee Messenger, student government president, gives the welcome speech during commencement Saturday.

SWANZEY CENTER — The Monadnock Regional Middle/High School football field filled with applause, air horns, metaphors and quotes Saturday morning, as the high school graduated its class of 2019.

The program listed 102 graduating seniors.

Principal Lisa Spencer told students to be proud they had reached this particular mountaintop.

Andy Harrison framed his commencement speech as a dialogue with his “conscience,” voiced by fellow teacher Heather Gigliello, over what cornball metaphor to leave graduates with. After rejecting “life is like a box of Blowpops,” golf, roadkill and one or two others, Harrison’s conscience finally let him proceed with an extended reference to the musical “Hamilton.”

The lesson: Both Alexander Hamilton’s risk-taking and Aaron Burr’s careful planning have something to teach us.

“We all wrestle with this decision-making paradox,” Harrison said. “Do we jump at every opportunity that arises, only to find that good planning and patience might have been the smarter option? Or do we meticulously plan our lives, waiting for the best opportunity, only to realize that the best opportunities are gone?”

Valedictorian Anamaria Pananas began by saying she’d asked classmates for ideas on her speech.

“I got many saying, ‘Don’t make it motivational,’ ‘Don’t be boring,’ and even a request for some dark humor,” Pananas said. “I have taken the advice and guidance of my classmates many times, but this was not one of those times.”

She then cited a quote she attributed to a favorite writer, Rod Serling, creator of “The Twilight Zone”: “They say a dream takes only a second or so, and yet in that second, a man can live a lifetime.”

Pananas added her own gloss: “It is that second before you win the championship, the second before you sing your last note, the second before you pass in that last major work status sheet at 11:59 p.m., you know who you are” — at this, a group cheered — “and the second before you hold your first diploma that will remain a living memory within you. Remembering the applause, the adrenaline, the stress, the exhaustion, the laughter and the people or person you share them with.”

Salutatorian Grace Jack followed up with a rousing list of the class of 2019’s accomplishments.

“The class before you is a class of workers,” she said. “We took risks, volunteered in the community. We’re artistically and athletically driven. And through it all continued to embody Husky pride.

“This class was determined to break records,” she continued. “This year we brought home two state championships.” More cheers. “Did the most fundraising in 25 years. … Year after year, we gained new experiences, welcomed new people — and procrastinated a little more.”

Held under bluebird skies, the ceremony also included a welcome note from Student Government President Talee Messenger, a song performed by senior Olivia Stanley and the presentation of two awards.

Senior Gabriela Bosonetto received the John R. Goodnow Award for her volunteer efforts around mental health, which include Stomp Out Bullying Month, prevention tips for the morning announcements, lunchtime mental-health activities and a wellness fair, according to Jen Burroughs, the class adviser, who presented the honor.

Messenger presented teacher Allison Robinson with the Student Government Recognition Award.

After the ceremony, which lasted a bit over an hour, graduates and their families milled about near the field. “Feels good to actually have something to prove you’ve been doing something,” said new graduate Scott Rollins of Troy, who plans to join the U.S. Army this month.

Traci Alfonso of Swanzey had just seen her daughter Kindyl graduate and was pondering the prospect of an empty nest. She said she was feeling “a lot of pride, but also feeling a little bit sad that my youngest child has graduated from high school.”

The graduates

Kindyl Alfonso, Nathan Alley, Nickolas Baker, Trevor Banford, Elaina-Rose Beal, Alexis Beauregard, Courtney Bienvenue, Jeffrey Birmingham, Lily Blake, Greyson Bolewski, Gabriela Bosonetto, Caitlyn Boucher, Christopher Boucher, Hayden Britton, Olivia Budzik, Gabriel Buonomano, Francisco Camuso, Travis Card, Michael Collins, Hannah Coppo, Lilly Croteau, Melissa Croteau, Taylor Davis, Sasha Decatur, Isabella DeLong, Hunter Derosier, Matthew Dodd, Andrew Doubleday, Heather Doyle, Cole Elfreich, Colin Ellsworth, Haley Ewers, Melanie Forcier, Symantha Fortin, Nicholas Fuller, Joshua Fusco Jr., Matthew Garner, Abigail Governor, Katie Hagar, Timothy Hart, Kylee Hillock, Molly Hulett, Morgan Hunt, Grace Jack, Cole Jarvis, Isaac Jasinski, Joseph Joslyn, Katelyn Koski, Alec Laflamme, Benjamin LaFreniere, Jenna Lajoie, Ryan Lake, Hunter Langworthy, Autumn Love, Alexis Lukeman, Jacob Maas, Peter Margand, Christian Maroni, Lydia Marrotte, Hayley Martin, Kyle Martin, Angel Martino, Jacob Mathewson, Timothy Matson III, Chandler Matson, John Matzke, Talee Messenger, Joseph Morrell, Paige Newell, Alexandria Normand, Katie Norway , Claire O’Meara, Anamaria Pananas, Timothy Pastor, Alicia Patenaude, Evangeline Perrotta, Jon-Ross Plaisted-McLennon, Elizabeth Queen, Justin Reed, Leah Rideout, Zackery Robbins , Russell Robinson, Scott Rollins, Jason Rosales, Joshua Roy, Andrew Royce, Ryan Rua, Shawn Rudy, Colby Sanders, Timothy Santaw Jr., William Sargent, Guinavere Simpson, Meeghan Somerset, Olivia Stanley, Kaylee Stenersen, Tyler Stone, Jackson Streeter, Simon Swartout, Preston Tucker, Michael Vlachos, Crimson Wheeler, Zoe Wright.

Paul Cuno-Booth can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1409, or pbooth@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @PCunoBoothKS.